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The Imagination Summit

Children don’t have any lack of imagination. Give a child a lump of clay and they will make something out of it. The constructed structure may be completely abstract, but you cannot discount the creativity and imagination that are put into making it. So, why is our education system designed to make us less creative as we grow up? This question and a lot more get discussed at the Imagination Summit.

The creative thought process of a child is exhibited best by Lego. Even small children use Lego blocks to create fantastic designs. Some of them are so good at this that they don’t even need to look at the designs provided with the package. The same child, when in school, comes to know that imagination doesn’t work during a test. There is one right answer to each question and they need to identify it. This is where children learn how not to be creative and do what is already established.

However, this thought process is gradually taking a beating thanks to the ever increasing demand for innovation at workplaces. There are strong indications that the present and the future generations would get the opportunity to be more creative in school. More people now think that the public school curriculum should now focus more on innovation and creativity.

To foster this effort, the Lincoln Center Institute has started something. The Imagination Summit is now in its second year. The summit brings together representatives from all the 50 states of the country along with education experts, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists and elected officials. The objective of the summit is to make an action plan for community activists, educators and policy makers include creativity as one of the critical elements of the school curricula.

The attendees during the first summit included Deepak Chopra and Sir Ken Robinson. The second summit will be held this month and will, no doubt, attract similarly brilliant speakers. The big question to ask is – is a summit required to tell the education experts how important it is to let creativity foster inside the classrooms?

Any teacher who knows a thing or two about teaching would tell you that there are proven ways to foster creativity – children should be encouraged to solve problems in a collective manner; they should be encouraged to take up learning projects and performing and visual arts teaching should get financial impetus. Making students more competitive to score better in tests is not the solution and it is one of the sure shot ways to kill creativity.

What the Imagination Summit can, however, do is that it can open the eyes of the policy makers at the local, state and national levels. It is expected that the summit will have enough influential people who can start debates and discussions on how teachers can encourage creativity. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that better test results in schools produce more brilliant adults. The children should be allowed to daydream throughout their growing years so that it becomes a habit by the time they hit their professional lives.

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Rachel

Rachel

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